TORONTO — Serena Ryder is checking off one wish on her Christmas list — recording a jazz album.
The Peterborough, Ont.-raised musician says she’s wanted to dabble in the genre for years, but it took acclaimed Canadian producer Bob Ezrin to make it happen on her holiday album “Christmas Kisses.”
The veteran songmaker who’s worked with Pink Floyd, Lou Reed and the Tenors, suggested Ryder consider revisiting classics like “Blue Christmas” and “Santa Baby” with a blues twist.
Ryder says the offer was impossible to refuse, partly because it gave her an opportunity to channel the spirit of Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald. She considers both women major influences, even though Ryder herself is better known for pop and rock music than jazz.
“By definition as an artist you create your identity so solidly that sometimes it’s so hard to go against,” she says.
“But I feel the more you try that is new, the more it lets you open up to different things and new possibilities.”
Ryder doesn’t want to stop there either. She hopes to record a country album at some point too, and maybe look at even broader possibilities.
“I’d love to do a musical one day — be in one,” she adds.
“Be in ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ or ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’ It’s like, why not?”
Ryder brings her Christmas album to Halifax with two shows (Dec. 5 and 6), Charlottetown, P.E.I. (Dec. 7) and Moncton, N.B. (Dec. 8).
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David Friend, The Canadian Press